Fifth-Graders Learn about Restored Habitat in Sunken Meadow Park

Crabs, not easy to catch, were a big hit among the boys.
Crabs, not easy to catch, were a big hit among the boys.
A group of Birchwood students, parent chaperones and their BOCES Naturalist grab a quick photo before lunch.
A group of Birchwood students, parent chaperones and their BOCES Naturalist grab a quick photo before lunch.
 Fifth-grader Reginald Taylor keeps a detailed journal of his ‘finds’ along the Sunken Meadow Creek
Fifth-grader Reginald Taylor keeps a detailed journal of his ‘finds’ along the Sunken Meadow Creek
Barnacles, a type of arthropod, are small saltwater animals with a protective shell-like covering. They attach themselves permanently to ships, wharves, and rocks, and to other marine animals.
Barnacles, a type of arthropod, are small saltwater animals with a protective shell-like covering. They attach themselves permanently to ships, wharves, and rocks, and to other marine animals.
Insects were captured, studied and released back into their natural habitat.
Insects were captured, studied and released back into their natural habitat.
Snail eggs can be found attached to muscle shells.
Snail eggs can be found attached to muscle shells.

 

Birchwood and Maplewood fifth-grade classes visited Sunken Meadow State Park to do science fieldwork with BOCES naturalists recently.  Sunken Meadow State Park went through an unusual change that most of us were not aware of.  The storm surge associated with Hurricane Sandy destroyed a man-made berm across Sunken Meadow Creek that was constructed as part of the development of Sunken Meadow State Park in the early 1950s. But on October 29-30, 2012, Hurricane Sandy decided that Mother Nature knows best, impatiently breaching and eroding away portions of the berm. As a result, Sunken Meadow Creek has returned to its natural state, an estuary where fresh and salt water mix. 

South Huntington’s fifth-graders were able to explore, and learn under the guidance of BOCES naturalists, just what this new development will mean to generations of saltwater species who had been cut off from the creek. Students combined deep reading, common core science curriculum, with this vast outdoor laboratory that provided authentic meaning to their classroom study.  We could see that this culminating experience stimulated the long-term interests of several budding young scientists.